Many people slip and fall at a business, restaurant, store, shopping mall, or any other location when they are out and about living their lives. Typically, after they fall as a result of a trip or slip, people are mortified from embarrassment and wish to get up and walk away. However, in that moment, they may not realize that they are injured. Worse, they may not understand that walking away and not documenting the fall and the injury will significantly prejudice their rights if they try to recover for their injury related losses. Any claim will require the injured person to later prove that the fall actually happened at the time, place, and in the manner that it occurred. They will also need to document the complaints and injury that were sustained.
If you fall, and are injured, you should not rush to get up. Stay where you are, and request help immediately. More importantly, request a manager and make sure that they complete an accident or incident report. Make sure you that you tell the manager exactly what happened, particularly telling them what caused you to fall and what physical complaints you may be feeling. Please be sure to get the name of the manager. Many establishments may give you a report form for you to write your account of what happened. Others may ask you questions, and then they prepare their own report. Some places may ask you to sign the report when it is completed, others may not. Either way, you must have a manager attend to you and the situation.
If injured, you should ask for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to attend to you, and if not already called, you may also want to have the police be there to document the fall. If the manager of the establishment takes the report, make sure you request that a copy of the report or the contact information where you can obtain one. If you do not write your account of what happened, then request to review the report, and particularly, the statements attributable to you to ensure accuracy.
Consistency. Make sure that you are consistent when you provide an account of what happened. When you tell a manager what happened that caused you to fall and what complaints you have, details of the incident, and make sure that you tell EMS the same account with the same detail. Likewise, when you go the emergency room, and any other physician for treatment, be sure to be consistent in what you say with the same level of specificity.
Unfortunately, when you fall, the embarrassment that you suffer may be only the beginning of a long ordeal. The pain may be debilitating, and the subsequent treatment for the injury is a long process that may have profound impact on your life. Depending on whether you have health insurance, or whether you have a high deductible plan, you should be ready to receive medical bills from various providers. These out-of-pocket medical bills are reimbursable if you make a claim against the establishment that is at fault.
Additionally, you may also be entitled to compensation for your “pain and suffering.” This is called non-economic damages. If you lose time from work that is not reimbursed, then you may also have a claim for same. As such, it is extremely important that you know your rights and document your fall and injuries immediately after it happens. Doing so may mean everything in being able to recover your losses arising from any resultant injuries.
If you are injured or require any additional information about any of the issues discussed herein, please do not hesitate to contact Abdou Law Offices, LLC at (732) 540-8840.
[*All materials have been prepared for general information purposes only to permit you to learn more about our firm, our services, and the experience of our attorneys. The information presented is not legal advice, is not to be acted on as such, may not be current, and is subject to change without notice.*]